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Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811.

In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) — between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay — Paraguay lost two-thirds of its adult males and much of its territory. The country stagnated economically for the next half century.

Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region.

The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since the country's return to democracy.

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